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    GPWA Aaron is offline Former Staff Member
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    Default Affiliate Manager Interview Series | Alex Alfa - AffPower

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    AffPower serves as the affiliate program for CosmikCasino and DeuceClub Casino. The program and the casinos were launched at the same time, correct? When did the launch occur, and how is business going?
    CosmikCasino was launched in December 2011 and DeuceClub in March 2012. As is true of every startup company the beginning was very hard and there were many hurdles to overcome, but now after a little more than one year we can say that business is going very well. We are lucky to have a team of people who have been in the industry for a very long time and have good relationships and connections to many affiliates and networks. This helps us grow our business. We are optimizing our casinos constantly and are upgrading games and new features in order to deliver the best gaming experience to our players.

    You entered the online gambling industry as the French Affiliate Manager for Fortune Affiliates. What lessons did you learn working with one of the industry's larger programs, and how do those lessons translate when working with a newer affiliate program promoting newer properties?
    I entered the gaming industry eight years ago when I moved to Tel Aviv, as a support agent at Euro Partners, where I stayed for two years. After that I worked for a few other companies, like Party Gaming and Prime Gaming as a VIP Manager, and only then did I start as an Affiliate Manager at Fortune Affiliates.

    Fortune Affiliates was a great learning ground for me, as I was part of the small team in Israel working remotely for a large company based in South Africa. Luckily, I was managed and coached by the fantastic Gavin Maselle, who gave me the chance to start as an Affiliate Manager when nobody else would. Fortune Affiliates, under Gavin's management, gave me all the tools I needed and taught me everything I had to know in order to attract French affiliates. Even though Fortune is one of the biggest programs in the industry, they taught me how to buy traffic without any budget (in the beginning). I also learned how to deal with the procedures used by large companies, such as delivering marketing material or making change happen in order to succeed in a market that is very competitive and where you were not positioned yet.

    Today all this helps me to manage our program in the right way and avoid affiliate management mistakes. Additionally, every time we launch into a new market, we can do it properly meaning slowly considering all the necessary aspects of every new market.

    There are hundreds of online casinos for players to choose from. What challenges do new entries in the online gaming space face in attracting players? What role do affiliates play in educating players about new offerings like CosmikCasino and DeuceClub Casino?
    That's true; there are hundreds of online casinos in the market, which is why we decided to launch on exclusive new online casino software (GameScale). This is our main challenge: Introducing this new product and games to the players. The role of the affiliates is extremely important in this challenge. They have to promote something new for players, and as we all know it can be very challenging trying to convince some affiliates to do that. We need to make them understand that giving players an opportunity to play at a fresh casino is not only great for conversion, but also for retention. Instead of offering five casinos using the same software, they can actually offer their players something different and exclusive.

    In addition to your exclusive games, CosmikCasino recently announced a partnership with BetSoft to bring 30 new games to the online properties. How important is a wide game selection to the success of an online casino?
    The gaming experience is our top priority. Adding new games on a regular basis keeps the casino fresh and interesting. We launched 30 new games in our first batch on CosmikCasino and we keep adding new games every month. We have also launched BetSoft Games at DeuceClub Casino.

    We are also adding new and exclusive games by GameScale on a regular basis. These games cannot be found in any other casino, and this is what makes CosmikCasino and DeuceClub Casino stand out in the crowd.

    Some brands, especially those focusing on Europe, use sports betting to acquire customers for their other products (casinos, poker, etc.). That's not a path you've chosen to travel. What advantages, if any, do you feel you have operating without a sportsbook? What disadvantages do you feel you have working without a sportsbook?
    Sports betting is an additional tool to attract customers to the casino, but our main focus is on doing what we know best. And that's casino. In the future, we do plan to expand and introduce sports betting into our operations in a partnership with one of the leaders in the industry.

    What is the target market for CosmikCasino and DeuceClub Casino? How do you go about reaching that target market?
    When we first launched, our main target was the French Territories. As soon as we established our brands in the French Territories we started to expand our brands. CosmikCasino and DeuceClub Casino are available in six languages in order to cover all of Europe. Our main markets are the French Territories, Italy and German-speaking countries. In order to reach our target markets we believe in working with a professional, international team people who speak the native languages and understand the psychology of players and affiliates from the respective countries.

    It's one thing to bring in new players. It's another thing entirely to get them to stick around. What does AffPower do to retain players sent by affiliates?
    Apart from the obvious, such as 24/7 support and retention in all languages, we have special offers for our existing players, such as free spins to try newly launched games, additional money and special promotions. The monthly updated Promo Calendar informs our players about the upcoming promos and entices them to play again on specific days. Our VIP managers take care of our VIP players extensively and have special offers for them, too, according to their VIP Level.

    What do affiliates need to know about CosmikCasino and DeuceClub Casino to effectively market the brands to their players? What distinguishes the AffPower brands from other casinos and affiliate programs, both in terms of the player experience and what you offer affiliates?
    As mentioned above, we operate on exclusive online casino software (GameScale), which already sets us apart from all other casinos and programs. The player experience is upgraded monthly through the addition of new games and new features, and we offer unique embedded free games for affiliates. And as many affiliates will testify, we have some of the nicest and most effective creatives in the industry.

    AffPower offers commission plans on a sliding scale, from 20 to 45 percent revenue share, based on revenue produced. Why did AffPower choose this commission model?
    Just to be clear, this is our default commission plan that is offered on our website. As we all know, you have to be flexible in this industry, so we close deals with affiliates on a personal basis, based on what we believe will be a win-win situation for both sides. This is the only way to build a real partnership with the affiliates as it already says in our slogan!

    You also offer CPA deals of up to 150. Are there dangers for affiliate programs that offer CPA deals? How do you police CPA fraud? How common is it, and how difficult is it to stop?
    No affiliate program can work properly without offering CPA deals. Our 150 deal is also the default plan from our website. Any CPA deal is more risky for any program, especially if you don't know the player value of the affiliate's players. Every request for a CPA deal is discussed and analyzed extensively with the affiliate. Luckily, we haven't experienced a lot of CPA fraud issues. Our fraud department is keeping an eye out for any suspicious activity on all our CPA campaigns and will block any fraudulent player immediately. If you have a good relationship with your affiliates, generally this doesn't happen a lot, and it's not a problem to modify or stop any CPA campaign immediately, in accordance with the affiliates, if we feel there is something fraudulent going on.

    Describe the office culture at AffPower. How many affiliate managers work on the team? If we were a fly on the wall, what are some of the topics of conversation we'd hear about at the water cooler?
    We are all friends here. Most of us have known each other for years or have worked together before. And I am talking about all the departments and levels, from support up to management. That's what makes coming to work every day even though it's stressful fun. There are three affiliate managers working here at AffPower at the moment Nadine Weinmann, Lloyd Apter and myself and we are always open to hire new, motivated collaborators for our team.

    As you know, the Mediterranean climate gives us the opportunity for lots of talk ranging from clothes to weather, food, heat and other topics that only a fly on the wall will be able to hear.

    As we are based in Tel Aviv, one of the coolest (and hottest) places in the world, I can tell you that the people here at AffPower are just the same.

    What do you know about the industry now that you wish you had known when you first started?
    I was lucky enough to be able to learn the industry from scratch. I started in one of the oldest companies in the industry, learning the psychology of players and what they are looking for. I worked myself up through all the departments in different companies. This is an advantage, as I know now that if you have never worked on the player's side, it is impossible to understand the entire industry.

    When I first started, I had no idea what a "whorehouse" I would be entering. But isn't that the reason why most of us also stay in this industry? LOL. No, but honestly, we are all a big family in the industry and I think that's why people enjoy working in it and also move within it. I had no idea of how big this industry actually was when I first started and how much it changes and grows constantly to keep up with trends and needs.

    How do you ensure that payments are sent out on time? And when do your payments go out?
    Our payments go out by the 15th of every month. Income Access, our back-end software, makes it easy for us to run reports and manage our affiliate payments accurately and in a timely manner. Our payments are closely monitored and processed by our Head of Payments, Risk and Processing, Errol Spanier-Marson, who has over 10 years' experience within the banking and online industries, including Nedbank in South Africa, Capital One in the U.S. and deltathree in Israel.

    Where do you think the industry will be in five years?
    From what I have experienced since I started in this industry eight years ago, I can say that the tendency will be towards regulating the entire industry. Due to recent events, such as Italian regulations, German territorial licenses and many other signs, as well as Party Gaming pulling out of all South American gray markets, I can say that the entire industry will sooner or later become regulated. That's why we have also decided to run under the unique EU License issued in Malta under the management of the LGA, which is in compliance with ISO-17799 "Information technology code of practice for information security management," unlike any of our competitors.

    Your native language is French. Did you grow up in France? What is it like living in Israel?
    Yes, I am French and I grew up and lived in Paris and the French Riviera, and before moving to Israel I treated myself to two years of surfing in Biarritz (close to the Spanish border).

    Living in Tel Aviv is like managing a casino operation. Everything is open 24/7; something happens all the time. You cannot rest from parties, beach, BBQs and meeting people. Yet, all that makes living in Tel Aviv a dream.

    If someone from out of town were to visit you, where is the one place you would have to take them?
    It's impossible to take someone to only one place here. There is so much to see and experience, but if I had to choose, I would take him for a proper Israeli lunch in the Kerem Hatemanim (the Yemenite quarter of Tel Aviv), then for a cold beer on the beach and to finish him off, I would take him to one of the most famous underground clubs (also my second living room), the Cat & Dog Club.

    What's the best movie food?
    Pistachios and pecan nuts. It might be an Israeli thing, as nuts and grains are very widely eaten here all the time, but it also depends on my munchies mood. And as you know, men will eat whatever they can find in the house.

    What is the last book you read? Did you enjoy it? And did you read it on an e-reader? Or do you need to have a copy of the physical book in your hand?
    I don't have a lot of time to read, unfortunately. But I did get the chance to read Mosab Hassan Yousef's biography, Son of Hamas. A very powerful story of espionage and the never-ending conflict of the Middle East. I read it in paperback, as I love the smell of books. I might be old-fashioned that way, but I'm OK with that.

    What is your favorite movie?
    Pulp Fiction, without a doubt. I have to admit, though, that Django Unchained came very close to my all-time favorite.

    If you had a theme song, what would it be?
    "Young, Wild and Free," by Wiz Khalifa.

    If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go?
    Hawaii or Tahiti. Those are the best spots in the world for surfing, in my opinion.

    If you could have dinner with three other people, living or dead, who would they be?

    1. ​My grandma, as she left us when I was already in Israel and I didn't get a chance to say goodbye properly.
    2. Adolf Hitler. I would like to have him sit at a nice Shabbat dinner at our house and ask him what exactly he doesn't like about me or my family and ask him to explain his hatred over a glass of good Israeli wine.
    3. Ayrton Senna. I was such a big fan of his when I was a kid, and I crashed my first car because of him!

    In case one of these is not available, I would invite Teddy Sagi and sell him my product.

    What would you do if you just inherited a pizzeria from your uncle?
    As I am French, I am more likely to inherit a boulangerie, but whatever it would be, I would definitely try to keep it up and running. It was always a dream of mine to own my own place, where I can always go to sit with friends and have some good wine and food.

    What are three things that no one knows about you?

    1. ​I only learned to speak English when I started working in the industry. I never had a single English lesson in my life.
    2. My wife, two kids and I all have the same initials (A.A.).
    3. I have a degree in French Cuisine.

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    Nick.RevenueJet (20 November 2013)

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    Nick.RevenueJet is offline Non-sponsor Affiliate Program
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    Great interview! Shout-out to Alex!

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